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National Victim Assistance Academy Resource Paper: Human Trafficking

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2012
22 pages
Publication Series
This paper reviews the features of human trafficking, its impact on victims, and models for multidisciplinary, collaborative approaches for serving this population.
Human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery, is a crime against vulnerable people desperate for a better life for themselves and their families. Exploiting this search for a better life, traffickers may abduct, deceive, use, and sell men, women, and children for profit. Victims often experience physical and/or sexual brutality, exploitation, and mental and emotional abuse. Once victims escape or are rescued from their traffickers, they often receive services across a wide variety of systems, including social services and criminal justice. Coordinated service delivery is crucial to successful intervention on behalf of trafficking victims. Following the presentation of data on human trafficking in the United States, definitions are presented for terms that are often used in association with human trafficking. A discussion of the unique impact/effects on trafficking victims notes that the adverse effects of human trafficking are similar to those experienced by other victims of criminal activity, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and torture. Among the victimization effects for trafficked persons are anxiety, anger, hopelessness, isolation, depression, and a multitude of stress-related health problems. An overview of effective responses for trafficking-victim support addresses mental health treatment and advocacy for justice system participation. U.S. Government policies for assisting trafficking victims are outlined, and multidisciplinary teams and case management are described as central features of an effective response to trafficking victims. The paper concludes with an overview of barriers to victim identification and accessing services and a discussion of the importance of addressing cultural issues that influence the perception of victims trafficked from other countries. 4 Web-based resources and 68 notes

Date Published: September 1, 2012